Friday, May 9, 2008

Fun Vampires Of Doom

There's been a lot of talk recently about comic "Events" such as Final Crisis. I've mentioned in various blog comments that I dislike events, and wish I could just read the titles I like without the outside universe impacting on them. There's several reasons for this. I've touched on one of these indirectly in the past, namely the fill-in artist when a title's main artist gets recruited for the event title (or even the writer, which may've just happened with Blue Beetle?). Today, it's the #1 reason why I've been turned off events- 90's Ghost Rider.

GR was the first American comic I ever seriously collected. I'd been a long time devotee to 2000AD, and would buy stuff from Marvel & DC, but I never found anything I had to keep reading until Ghost Rider #1 appeared on the shelf. I was hooked, and the book treated me well for a couple of years. Then the inevitable consequence of a book being popular began to take hold.

Ghost Rider #26 & 27

Ghost Rider gets his obligatory crossover with the X-Men, in a 3 part crossover (with X-Men #9). This was harmless enough at the time, since I also collected X-Men. It's only a year later that, looking back, I could see there was a problem on the horizon, and that problem would begin in proper with...

Ghost Rider #28 &31

On the strength of Ghost Rider's popularity, Marvel decided to lauch some similarly horror-themed titles- Spirits Of Vengeance, Morbius, Darkhold, and Nightstalkers. Understandable, and not a bad idea, but it wound up turning into a blatant cash-grab. See, these titles were all destined to tie in to one another quite regularly. GR #28 kicked off a 6 part story that was continued in the first issue of each new title. We got two standard issues of Ghost Rider in the middle, then the story was concluded in #31. That's cool for creating a buzz for new titles, but no good when you're:

A) buying GR from a bookshop that doesn't carry the other titles, and

B) aged 15, with your only income being pocket money from your parents. Even if A hadn't been a problem, there's no way I could've suddenly added 4 new titles to my buying habit.

Still, this wouldn't be happening often, right? So I could handle missing out on one storyline, and for the next 7 months, this wouldn't enter my head again. Then the shit really hit the fan.

Ghost Rider #39

A new character explodes on the scene, and things get awesome. The problem? This issue is part 1 of a story that concludes in Spirits Of Vengeance. SoV was actually pretty cool, I had managed to pick up a handful of issues on a visit to a comic shop in the next city over, but it was too far away to go regularly.

Ghost Rider #40

"Midnight Sons Massacre", and we have a special tie-in with the other horror books. Two stories in a row I don't get to finish, but that won't happen often, will it???

Ghost Rider #41, 42, & 43

OK Marvel, your starting to friggin kill me here. The previous 2 issues were essentially worthless, and now you're telling me there's a 6-part crossover with Spirits Of Vengeance? Really?? Alright, I'll suck it up for now because I love Ghost Rider, just stop it soon, ok?

Ghost Rider #44 & 45

...and by this point, I'm done. The "Siege Of Darkness" storyline, which features a crossover with 7 other titles!! The previously mentioned 4, plus Dr Strange, Marvel Comics Presents, and Midnight Sons Unlimited. It's a 17 part story. Are you fucking kidding me? #44 is part 2, and #45 is part goddamn 10!!! As if 7 straight months of crossovers isn't bad enough, here's the kicker that pushed me over the edge: Ghost Rider dies, but he doesn't die in his title. I've just bought 45 straight issues, and they go and kill him somewhere else???!


...and then something odd happens. They replace GR with Vengeance...

Ghost Rider #46

I saw this when it came out, but refused to buy it, I was waaay too pissed off. A couple months later, and I saw #46 & 47 going cheap, so I bit the bullet and bought them. And you know something? They were brilliant! An added bonus- they didn't cross over with anything! Self contained issues, oh the bliss. The bad will subsided, and I came back into the fold. GR was suddenly delivering everything it hadn't been for months, and it was with a totally different character to boot. I had 4 issues of bliss, then it happened:

Ghost Rider #50

Billed as the "Return of Ghost Rider". Well ok, that was always going to happen. Worth picking up since I'd been enjoying recent developments, and the aggravation had lessened. So I sit down to read it...


*anger rises inside*

So here's the deal: yes, GR is back, but he was really ressurrected in SoV. It's not a crossover as such, but this does mean that he died in some other title, and came back in another.

Over the 2 years, it works out as 12 issues that required you to read 29 additional books in order to get a complete story. Marvel's behaviour on Ghost Rider is the major reason why I want nothing to do with crossovers, events, or anything else that affects the books I like.

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